THE family of a teenager who died after jumping into a cold river has urged young people to be safe around water, five years on from his death.

Cameron Gosling, 14, from Crook, died of cold water shock after jumping into the River Wear near Bishop Auckland, on July 5, 2015.

On the fifth anniversary of his death yesterday, his family joined with the Safe Durham Partnership as part of its Dying to be Cool campaign, in urging young people not to go into rivers or any other open water without acclimatising.

The Northern Echo:

Cameron’s mum Fiona Gosling said: “It is difficult to believe it has been five years since we lost Cameron – I still remember that day so vividly.

“There will always be a hole in our family because we have lost Cameron and not a day has passed without us thinking of and talking about him.

“We miss him so much and the pain we still live with five years on could have been prevented if we had known about cold water shock and he had not jumped in.

“On behalf of our family, we would beg every young person thinking about going swimming in a river or lake this summer to go into the water slowly to let your body acclimatise.

“Please don’t jump in – you might never go home and your family’s lives will be turned upside down forever.”

The Dying to be Cool campaign, led by Durham County Council, aims to make ten to 16-year olds and their loved ones aware of the dangers of jumping into cold water and would usually visit schools.

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Durham County Councillor Lucy Hovvels, the council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “Our simple message would be to remember what happened to Cameron and to make sure they acclimatise if going into the water, to guarantee they get home safely and that their families do not have to suffer.”

Glen Stewart, community safety manager at the fire and rescue service, said: “Although the water looks inviting from the surface, it is still cold enough to induce cold water shock, not to mention the dangers lurking beneath that you cannot see from the surface.

"Don’t swim in open water unless there is a lifeguard, always let someone know where you are going and call 999 in an emergency."

Neighbourhood Inspector Chris Knox, from Durham Constabulary said: “We’d like to remind people about the perils of playing in or diving into the water, having been in the sun and then entering the water, cold water shock can seriously impair a person’s ability to swim.

“We simply want to reinforce the message that open water, whether on the coast, lakes or rivers can be life-threatening and would encourage people to stay out of the water where they can.”

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To find out more about cold water shock and Dying to be Cool, visit